“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
Shakespeare’s advice is practical but painful. In fact, giving into grief is pretty much at the top of my list of “Things I Never Want To Do.” And yet, here I type with the plan to do as The Bard biddeth.
Questions and Tears
It’s been just over 18 months since my marriage imploded. However, it’s not been more than 24 hours since my mind has wandered back to the “days before.” A pre d-day image arises and my mind stops and squints. It’s like looking at those childhood game pages where you try to discover the differences between two images. My thoughts swirl as I consider the image: “Did I miss something?” “Did he love me then?” “Does he love me now?” “How could I not know?” Instead of seeing that “before” image as a sweet lyrical dance of a memory, I see it through a fog– not quite able to make out the truth of the people or the place or the emotion attached to it. The fog is weighty and my heart mourns.
A season of life that I loved is tainted. Days that I adored are marred. My current reality is fighting for truth with every sweep of the second hand. Honestly, it hurts.
Misunderstood and Mourning
Those are dangerous words to speak because people just don’t get it — and what people don’t understand, they judge. Some might say, I’m too emotional. Others will say get over it. Some say, “how could you forgive?” And then there are those who suggest if I was truly following God, I shouldn’t grieve. Still others encourage me to accept this new way of life and move on – the future can be wonderful!
As a betrayed partner, we can become frustrated with our constant yearning for the “before.” We speak the very same words others have spoken over us. But no matter how much I prayed, went to therapy, worked through recovery, and even desperately looked for the good, the feelings kept overwhelming me.
One day, I specifically asked God to take away the sadness and the longing. He said no. I was a little surprised by His answer, but then He explained.
“Death doesn’t only come to the body. Death comes to every part of life. It’s reflected in every day you live. The light of day signifies life; the dark of night mimics death. Even the seasons succumb to its influence. Your pre-discovery life has to die, so you can live the new life to which I’ve called you. It’s okay to mourn, to grieve, when faced with death. You fought HARD for your marriage, and it feels like a complete loss to be asked to let it go. So be sad, but know that nothing you ever give up for me will be wasted. No pain you ever felt as you’ve walked those not-asked-for roads go unnoticed. I will redeem every moment.”
Finding the Words
So, I mourned. Some days I still do, but what I’ve discovered is the grief is slowly replaced. God provided my joy and purpose pre-discovery; He’ll do the same in post-discovery.
Shakespeare had the right idea when he said unspoken grief breaks a heart. I’ll add that finding the words to speak of it is much like a wrestling match in the mind. But when we choose to fight for those words and speak them in safe places, our hearts and minds begin to heal.
Still Wrangling Hope,